Silhouette of a person gazing at the sky.

Building a Life

What Judaism says about finding your purpose.

What should I do with my life? The question pursues us to the very end of our days. Whether we are fulfilling our destiny in this world is a constant challenge and provocation.

Some believe each of us has a fixed, preset destiny and life is a search; others believe our purpose is created and life is a shaping.

Judaism offers both models. There are moments and missions that require only we heed the voice: In ancient times Abraham was chosen and resolute. In modern times many visionaries felt that they had only to pay attention and their journey was laid clearly before them. 

But for most of us there are multiple paths to walk. Each will develop unique sides of ourselves. The task is not to find the solitary correct road, but one of the roads that will make us better, brighter, more fully realized human beings. 

What you are is God’s blessing given to you. What you make of yourself is your blessing given back to God.

Rabbi David Wolpe’s musings are shared in My Jewish Learning’s Shabbat newsletter, Recharge, a weekly collection of readings to refresh your soul. Sign up to receive the newsletter.

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